Multiple analyses confirm that drug companies hiked the prices of hundreds of drugs in January, as the pandemic surged across the nation. Meanwhile, new research shows that Americans are paying the price for these hikes: drugs in the U.S. are more than 2.5 times more expensive than in peer nations. These price increases come as more than one in four voters say they or a family member have been unable to afford a prescribed medication in the past year. There has never been a more urgent time to ensure that people have access to the medications they need as millions of Americans have lost jobs and their health care during the pandemic. Drug pricing remains a top issue for voters, with recent polling showing that nearly 9 in 10 say addressing high prices should be a top priority for the Biden administration. 

2021 Hikes

GoodRx Analysis Found That More Than 800 Drugs Saw Prices Increases In January — The “Largest Number Of Increases In Years.” “In January, 832 drugs increased in price by an average of 4.6%. This breaks down to 822 brand drugs and 10 generic drugs and includes all over-the-counter and healthcare practitioner-administered medications. On top of that, 175 drugs that increased this year were specialty drugs, which means that they were likely already quite expensive.” [GoodRx, 2/2/21

An Analysis From 46brooklyn Found That U.S. Saw Brand Name Drug Price Increases Surpass 900 In January 2021, The Highest In Over A Decade. “It’s official: Americans have now seen more brand-name prescription drug price increases this month than for any January in the previous decade…With a week left, this month already has seen price increases for 905 prescription drugs, which tops the mark of 895 established for all of January 2018. Unlike previous years, every price change so far has represented an increase.” [The Columbus Dispatch, 1/24/21

A Report By Patients For Affordable Drugs Found That Drug Companies Raised Prices On Over 600 Drugs At The Beginning Of The New Year, With Hikes Averaging 5 Percent. “More than 100 pharmaceutical companies raised prices on over 600 drugs at the beginning of the new year, according to a new report from the advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs…By the numbers: 95% of price hikes were on brand-name drugs. The median increase was about 5%, and almost all of them were greater than inflation.” [Axios, 1/14/21

3 Axis Advisors: Drugmakers To Hike Prices On More Than 300 Drugs On January 1, 2021. “Drugmakers including Pfizer Inc, Sanofi SA, and GlaxoSmithKline Plc plan to raise U.S. prices on more than 300 drugs in the United States on Jan. 1, according to drugmakers and data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors…The companies kept their price increases at 10% or below, and the largest drug companies to raise prices so far, Pfizer and Sanofi, kept nearly all of their increases 5% or less, 3 Axis said. 3 Axis is a consulting firm that works with pharmacists groups, health plans and foundation on drug pricing and supply chain issues.” [Reuters, 12/31/20

As Drug Companies Continue To Pursue Unjustified Price Hikes, Research Confirms Americans Are Paying The Price

January 2021 Report By The RAND Corporation Shows That U.S. Drug Prices Are 256% Higher Than 32 Other Countries. “Prescription drug prices in the U.S. are more than 256% higher than other 32 other countries, with the gap driven by brand-name drugs, a new report by nonpartisan RAND Corporation shows. The big picture: Drug spending in the U.S. jumped by 76% between 2000 and 2017, and the costs are expected to only increase over the next decade, per the report.” [Axios, 1/28/21

February 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation Analysis Found That Half Of All Drugs Covered By Medicare Part D Had Price Increases Between 2018 And 2019 That Outpaced Inflation. ”Our analysis finds half of all Part D-covered drugs (50%, or 1,646 drugs) had list price increases that exceeded the rate of inflation between July 2018 and July 2019, which was 1.8% (Figure 1). Among the drugs with list price increases exceeding inflation between 2018 and 2019, the median list price increase was 6.4%, or 3.5 times the rate of inflation.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/4/21

January 2021 Analysis By The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review Found That Unjustified Price Hikes Of Seven Drugs Cost The U.S. $1.2 Billion In 2019. “During 2019, drug makers raised prices on seven widely used medicines by substantial amounts without any new clinical evidence to justify the increases, leading patients and insurers in the U.S. to spend an added $1.2 billion that year, according to a new analysis. For instance, Salix Pharmaceuticals raised the price on Xifaxan, its irritable bowel disease treatment, by 13%, after accounting for rebates, discounts and other fees, which led to an extra $173 million in spending had the company not raised the price. And Amgen (AMGN) boosted the price of its Enbrel medicine for rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments by 8.9%, after rebates and fees, which cost the U.S. health care system an extra $403 million.”  [Stat, 1/12/21